Prayogshala or our Learning Lab, is a space inside the community where students are immersed in ‘design-thinking’ projects through which they acquire problem solving skills that they need to excel in their classrooms and beyond. The projects are designed to integrate skills and knowledge from different subjects. It is our first endeavour in transforming learning spaces.
In 2014, after completing the Teach For India (TFI) Fellowship, our co-founder Rahul Bhanot, set up this modest but innovative after-school learning center in Tughlakabad Extension in South Delhi, close to the municipal school he taught in as a TFI Fellow. The reason was very simple. He saw that the children needed a space where they could take charge of their own learning curve and discover avenues to apply their skills. Prayogshala is designed around project based learning, where children are taught skills that can be used to crack problems and design their own solutions. Children are pushed to question, probe and explore for deeper learning independently. The theory of change at Prayogshala is to cultivate student leadership, and build opportunities for students to use the skills they learn within the academic space and apply them in real world scenarios.
Currently, we work with 21 children at Prayogshala, all between the age group of 8-13 years. They pick their own projects and work towards charting out their progression by identifying what is needed to understand the problem, gather empirical data (surveys & questionnaires), interpret that information and then designing possible solutions for them. The role of a teacher here then, is to be their guide and facilitator for the entire process.
Some of the projects that our children at Prayogshala have worked or are currently working on, include:
1. Investigate the shortage of clean drinking water in Tughlakabad Extension
2. Weigh in on the crime against women in Tughlakabad Extension
3. Gaming for Solutions – Learning basic coding skills to understand technology as a powerful tool for change.